notthisbody’s projects Polytopia The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in... Epiphanies A series of rambles by SpaceCollective members sharing sudden insights and moments of clarity.
Rambling is a time-proven way of thinking out loud,... Start your own revolution Catching up with the future.
All major institutions in the world today are grappling to come to terms with the internet. The entertainment...Now playingSpaceCollective Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction.Introduction Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
October 20-21st, 2012, 11am-6pm
Los Angeles Edison Power Plant #3
The Brewery Arts Colony, Downtown Los Angeles
Lattices, honeycombs, checkerboards, triangles – form constants were first conceived and studied in 1926 by Heinrich Klüver as geometric shapes at the core of human visual perception, revealed through altered states of consciousness – hypnagogia, hallucinations, synesthesia, fever, meditation, near-death experiences…
Others have continued to explore deeply common human experiences – Karl Jung worked with form constants of a different kind, those he called archetypes – psychological organs, analogous to the physical ones that arose through evolution; Noam Chomsky proposed a “universal grammer” hard-wired into the brain and properties that all natural human languages share.
The evolution of technology, however, is morphing our perception through new extensions of our senses, changing our relationships with our environment – each other – and ourselves. Is what we take as common perceptions among humanity today diverging as we augment, enhance and mediate our subjective experience through technology, or is it bringing us closer together? Is the blend of flesh and information changing the very core of what is considered to be “human”?
Using paint, pixels, light, sound, sculpture, games both online and off, FORM CONSTANTS #1 is an experiment and experience about perception, information, communication, culture and narrative – just what is the earthquake that none felt?
This video pill was created by Notthisbody (@notthisbody) in collaboration with Lawrence Lessig (@lessig), the Director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. It is for non-commercial, educational and informational purposes only.
Rootstrikers is a non-profit organization that "aims to restore power over American politics and government to 100% of the people. We hope patriots of all political persuasions will join us to help build an unstoppable grassroots movement that demands and delivers lasting reforms." Learn more about them at rootstrikers.org.
A few days ago Bruce Sterling posted an "Essay on the New Aesthetic", summing up his most recent thoughts after a panel at SXSW, similarly titled "The New Aesthetic - Seeing like digital devices". The focal point of definition for this New Aesthetic is well documented and a gestalt emerges quite quickly on the New Aesthetic tumblr, a juxtaposition of quotes, images, sensations, videos highlighting myriad examples of that which its curators are recognizing is already happening.
In short, New Aesthetic touches in some sense the bleeding of the virtual dimension into the actual and our increasing reflection of our own methods of sensing in machines, and vice versa. What's surprising about Bruce's usually sardonic critique of modern culture is that he acknowledges his own excitement and novelty with NA, that perhaps it does indeed holds the potential for something new...
Robin Sloan boils it down to a general axiom(?) of NA on his blog:
the flip-flop (n.) the process of pushing a work of art or craft from the physical world to the digital world and back again—maybe more than once
...it becomes clear you aren’t aiming for fidelity in these transitions from physical to digital and back. That’s where your work gets exposed to a whole new set of tools—really, a whole new physics.
However there are several conceptual hurdles that require consideration and recontextualization that need to occur before I can rally behind the New Aesthetic. Our hybrid futures imply that we are moving at a pace of transformation to which we are little aware on a moment by moment basis.
The Machinomorphic Counter-strike
In 1957, Russel Kirsch took the first digital photo - a 5x5cm picture of his infant son. When deciding how to render the ones and zeros, Kirsch decided on the seemingly logical choice at the time — square pixels. For this, he apologizes.
"The logical thing was not the only possibility," Kirsch said. Those pixels could have been any shape he desired. But he went with square; a decision he has since described as "something very foolish that everyone in the world has been suffering from ever since." (full article)
In the fascination of 'seeing like machines', we have been anthropomorphizing our machines, imbuing them with very human metaphors. What's not recognized as widely is the backwash - the feedback and echoes of machinomorphic [PDF] influence - where we begin to associate the qualities of machines into our conception of ourselves. Pixels have a harsh, grinding feel to them, utterly unnatural considering there are no straight lines in nature, gestalt is not linear, nor binary - yet in our mad digitalization of our experience, of course we grab onto this, the most glaringly obvious representation of the prison of our sensory experience to break loose of these relative freedoms. Machine vision must push beyond the prison of the rectangle, and that's why we're shredding and bleeding our media and its representations, grind it, shatter it, work to break through to something more organic.
A chunk of Bruce's essay nearer to the end demands a recontextualization of our relationship with machines:
I will hammer that iron nail a bit more, in case you aren’t getting it yet. Because this is the older generation’s crippling hangup with their alleged “thinking machines.” When computers first shoved their way into analog reality, they came surrounded by a host of poetic metaphors. Cybernetic devices were clearly much more than mere motors and engines, so they were anthropomorphized and described as having “thought,” “memory,” and nowadays “sight” and “hearing.” Those metaphors are deceptive. These are the mental chains of the old aesthetic, these are the iron bars of oppression we cannot see.
Modern creatives who want to work in good faith will have to fully disengage from the older generation’s mythos of phantoms, and masterfully grasp the genuine nature of their own creative tools and platforms. Otherwise, they will lack comprehension and command of what they are doing and creating, and they will remain reduced to the freak-show position of most twentieth century tech art. That’s what is at stake.
When establishment becomes artificial and possibility begoes natural, process flows being. Implicit in the arrival at the phrase which can potentially embody and arrive at a recontextualized aesthetic, is a departure, from what we know and have known. these realizations are what we encase as objects, juxtaposing through fluid curation that together, reveals a certain directionality, trajectory that we are still grasping at.
The sensing of objects within the construct of machines still lacks a cohesive ontology - ontologies are about structuring meaning, and we humans have difficulty enough coming to common agreements by way of our differently evolved subjectivities and contexts, we are a long ways from providing machines with the conceptual substrate to handle the complexity of human intersubjectivity. The intersubjectivity of any context, indeed to have a consensus reality, depends on our ability to come to agreements about meaning - we struggle with the very first step -with methods of classification of objects, and defining their relations, as this need for context induces a sort of multiplexed fragmentation. The question of intelligence in our machines, a morbid fascination playing with the uncanny valley, at the same time inviting us to engage with it as higher and higher resolution refractions bounce around the collective subconscious (which also must exist if there is to be any 'collectively intelligent'). Sterling calls us to engage with machines as they are, not how we would imbue them with our characteristics or vice versa.
These objects, somewhat objects of our desire, are comprised of processes, nested within each other at varying layers of abstraction. What is even more profound, only being hinted at, at least in the conversation surrounding the New Aesthetic, is the machine computability of our cultural activity and archetypal interpretations by machines, natural language processing, entity extraction, semantic tech and hybrids like amazon's mechanical turk. It is not just the geographical or physical machine vision but the cultural, that we must think deeply and tread carefully in relation with machines, lest we eat our own tails in a pornographic desire to get to know ourselves through the technological immediation of machine-processed experience. Our own vision - physiological, cultural, social - is being refracted through the fractures in our ability to conceive the implications of the different lenses we view technology through - never quite familiar and sometimes difficult keeping our equilibrium in such a fast-changing landscape.
In meantime the examples of NA continue to become more fluid, integrated, in going deeper into that glitch we've found its not actually all that glitchy once you get in there, that is, more like a phase space or grey area, between on/off, yes/no, not pinpointed at a specific coordinate but rather multiple possibilities in a spectrum of coordinates. Daito Manabe's various collaborations exemplify this blend uniquely, in turns haunting, frantic, ghostly, yet even more real because of it, immediately taking us to a liminal space. Liminality is key to NA, because it is that inbetween that enables us to explore our intuition, NA can, at its best open a door for us to inhabit this liminal space between virtual and actual, reflect our interpretation the happenings of now predictively to expand our awareness.
The New Aesthetic is Infosyn-aesthetic
Derived from latin, synaesthesia is broken down into “syn”, which means union, and “esthesia”, sensation. A union of sensation. When used as a common term, synesthesia is used to describe the condition of when someone is aware of their senses mixing. In other words, the stimulation of one sense will trigger a response in another sense.
Synesthesia is not something that has been added, but has always existed. A multisensory awareness is something that has been lost from conscious awareness in the majority of people....We know more that we think we know. The multisensory, synesthetic view of reality is only one things that we are sure has been lost from consciousness. - Dr. Richard Cytowic
The addition of info-, the union of information and sensation. Our new sensors and extension of our senses into the domain of the virtual, gives us the conceptual construct to interact with information therefore extending our relations and conception of the environment, each other and ourselves. The emergence of this hyperconnectivity fundamentally changes the dynamics of human interaction through morphing our symbolic languages. We desperately need to upgrade our current conceptions of communication, on the fly, now and forever more.
The role of cultivating these sensitivities is that of the aesthetic curators of information, as critical relevancies and metabolic reactors within an infocology (information ecology), engaged in aesthetic management. Working towards something more inherently flexible, capable of unmanagement, free flowing with immersion into the rawness of humanity. Lets build upon these signature decay trails, their radiation showing aesthetics, also in respect to establishment's departure, into arrival of new ways...
We need new semantic and ontological frameworks to exchange meaning within and across infocologies. As we more deeply engage and interact with each other, information and our environment, a new, infosynaesthetic language is emergent through hyperconnectivity. It is in becoming that the New Aesthetic emerges, and it is emergent, for if there's one thing to realize about our nascent infosyn-aesthetic, it is that it throws into questions the nature of networked identities, the blend of flesh and information, data, matter and the overlay of realities that result. Out of this we desire to recontextualize and understand the meaning of our relationship and evolution of our sense interfaces and our language, and the vast impact they have on our culture, politics, society as a whole.
life+ / work+ / play+ saturate in real and virtual. mind and body fuse with reality and dream. organism and environment continually connect. chemicals and frequency pulse rapidly so flow between is unity with such intense distance that requirement is recursively created to seamlessly evolve together to revive identities morphing. - @entpm
...we may now understand aesthetics as requiring an unsettling of knowledge, a dynamic, and transformative quality of engagement with the world. In this sense, Aesthetics can be said to be the foundation of our understanding the inter-subjective relational experience we have with the world. Aesthetics I see as that which disturbs the obvious, disconcerts the known, unsettles the clear and provides a way ahead in our realization of ourselves both as individuals as a culture and as a species... - Wildcat
The paradigms with which we experience information are driven by the glitches - those things rendered explicit and obvious by time and space. The artworks that are being classified as NA embody this, and whether intentionally or unintentionally call attention to an attempt for us humans at normalisation - the persistence of a contextual aesthetic ground, that is always tending to firm up on us.
NA can and should strive to have a center which is always moving - resisting crystallization while at the same time calling our attention to it. The deterritorialization of that which we know we know, or think we know. Saccades crystallize. blinking helps sight. The analog to digital smoothers are active, the seeds of which have been planted already, literally, in those being born in 2012, those who will be born into a mass-customizable, rapidly evolving ever increasing info mass. We, those already born, need to understand how we can keep pace with changing paradigms of interaction with the world on the fly, and implied in that, its influence the structure of our mind and culture itself.
Fluid, Fractal and Holographic
What we're experiencing is exaptive, form and nonform - transforming aesthetics into tangible intangibles. Morphing between virtual and actual, before and after a particular moment has subsided in experience. As we are building these interfaces for experiential navigation of data and information for minds and intelligences to integrate with, hindsights, insights, foresights and evolution become conscious communication mechanisms to evolve upon ourselves, by living and interacting. Hyperconnectivity reveals the fluid, fractal and holographic nature of not data or information or content but experience, this itself morphs through evolutionary permutations as our code spaces are changed, modified, interpreted and re-encoded as signals and resonance.
Before being a theory aesthetics is an action, the action of undeterred insistence in refurnishing becoming.
Before being a theory aesthetics requires the necessary non-act of disclosing a shape of silence in and around minds, in and around things.
Before being a theory aesthetics is an inter-action, the empathic weaving of threads across the frontier between visible and invisible, the ephemeral mind of beyond born of encounter.
Thus before being a theory Aesthetics is possibly about the apex of our action as humans.
Aesthetics is the verb of curating becoming. - Xaos
Becoming is of emergent properties of past affinities of influence; begoing is synchronized with the emergent properties of future affinities - both of these, in reconciliation to factors of time's relative constraints.
The quality of being, as an aesthetic phenomenon, is radically altered in the age of hyperconnectivity in a fashion that prominently features the art of becoming, not as the mimesis of an other that is not authentic, but in a fashion that re-describes the extended narrative of the individual into a multiplicity of authentic beings.
We call for the founding of a fresh narrative about our relationship with and through technology. The relevance of the New Aesthetic perhaps may be that we never try too hard to look at it directly in the eyes (which ones for that matter?), but rather keep it on the periphery of our vision, less an object but a presence, a process, and cultivate an aesthetic ground on which our senses stand. Perhaps it better be kept elusive.
New problems are continually built. Dissolving of problems builds from their solutions, formulae of creations to navigate experience beyond our relative constraints. The possible beauty of our future lies in our hands, in our very own capability to transform ourselves into curators of interest and aesthetic intelligence, a transmutation in the manner we understand the world and cohere a complexity that unfolds before us.
The New Aesthetic might not be a 'thing' at all. it might just ben about a functional freedom of expression.
many thanks to Xaos, Wildcat, and Gavin Keech for the use of their wordplay and phrases i have taken the liberty of incorporating into this essay.
Image 1: Face Projection by Daito Manabe
Image 2: Abundance Mechanics by Gavin Keech
Image 3: the first digital image, scanned by Russel Kirsch in 1957 of his son
Image 4: Biostructure 2 by Abhominal
Image 5: Untitled by Xaos
“Put simply: cities are like ant colonies are like software is like slime molds are like evolution is like disease is like sewage systems are like poetry is like the neural pathways in our brain. Everything is connected." - Patrick Pittman
This video is inspired, in part, by the ideas explored in David Deutsch’s new book, THE BEGINNING OF INFINITY. We hope it moves you.
In our work, we use the tools of editing: we juxtapose 'transcalar' imagery, cutting and overlapping the very small and the very large... From the nano to the galactic, stretching and compressing time, we feature time lapse to reveal the repetitive and recurring patterns across different scales of reality. The aim is to provide multiple perspectives all at once, whose simultaneous presentation might cause spontaneous epiphanies. “These patterns are omnipresent, but only when we see these patterns in a more compressed mode of presentation to we start to attend to them as such.” — This is KEY!
Paul Stamet's superb book, Mycelium Running, begins with a discussion of what Stamets calls the mycelial archetype. He compares the mushroom mycelium with the overlapping information-sharing systems that comprise the Internet, with the networked neurons in the brain, and with a computer model of dark matter in the universe. All share this densely intertwingled filamental structure.
A recent profile of Stephen Johnson on Dumbo Feather described his work like this:
“Johnson uses ‘The Long Zoom’ to define the way he looks at the world—if you concentrate on any one level, there are patterns that you miss. When you step back and simultaneously consider, say, the sentience of a slime mold, the cultural life of downtown Manhattan and the behaviour of artificially intelligent computer code, new patterns emerge."
On their own, these areas of study are fascinating. Together, a more profound view takes shape.
The article continues, "Put simply: cities are like ant colonies are like software is like slime molds are like evolution is like disease is like sewage systems are like poetry is like the neural pathways in our brain. Everything is connected.”
Our stated goal is to re-ignite the art of the "performing philosophers" ... like Timothy Leary and Buckminster Fuller... A post from Wildcat here on Space Collective speaks about “thinkers who act as substantial agents of change, who drastically alter the infocologies they interact with, in the process transforming and meshing the different dimensions in which our minds operate.”
We care about the pleasures derived in forming new connections, mash-ups and innovative solutions for the next step in human evolution.
We are working to articulate our understanding through the creation of recombinant media mashups meant to epiphanize audiences——the creating and sharing of awe; "performance philosophy" in an age of collapsing boundaries and exponential creativity.
Artist Michael Garfield referred to it as "playing hopscotch across illusory divides in the intertidal zone between technology and spirituality, science and art, self and other, individual and collective.”
The director of the Imaginary Foundation described our work as “some kind of Ontological DJ'ing, recompiling the source code of western philosophy by mixing and mashing it up into a form of recombinant creativity, which (hopefully) elevates our understanding from the dry and prosaic, into the sensual and transcendent.”
“The goal is to prove a fresh framework and a new narrative to fill our old storytelling needs in our ever-increasing process of self-description.”
Information technologies have become instruments of mind expansion, sensorial scaffoldings that increase and augment our capacity to process greater amounts of information, allowing us to extract richer gradients of meaningful data about the world and our experience.
Whether its a telescope, a microscope or a marijuana joint, we need to think of these tools as aids, contact lenses through which we can see so much more than before.
In the digital dimension we use the term resolution. Certainly we can appreciate how much more can be 'revealed' by having higher resolution..... and technology offering complex visualizations literally ups the resolution of our internal and external perceptions .
Different Scales and perspectives of reality show how much of what we perceive is dictated by our point of view—literally by where we are and how we think. The most exhilarating realization, then, is that we all have the power to shape our experience by our linguistic and creative choices.
"A random scrap of information can trigger just the right conceptual collision. It’s hard to know which scrap might do the trick, but that’s the beauty of things like social networks, interconnectivity, and these kinds of media mashups — they constantly produce potential sparks, for free.” - Seth Godin
A collaboration of /Jason Silva and /Notthisbody incorporating the work of:
Creation besides being the opposite of annihilation, is the constant state of readjustment, repurposing and in that way curating into a becoming - whether that be particles of thought, or feelings reflected in the bits of virtual representations. So we are just recontextualizing to reveal some patterns and point out to what is less obvious when we are glaring at the pieces from close and in their silo.
RealiTTY is a series of dense, insightful media meditations on language, information, reality, technology and transhumanism by Miles Hingston.
Reality is a battle of opposing metaphors playing out/in the canvas of the collective mindscape. — Miles Hingston (The Author)
I hate to formalize things in this way, but this material is not designed to appease academic or scientific types necessarily because I choose not compete within the narrow boxes that they want to place people in, this will be discussed further in the next section. The nature of this material is purely speculative, but it does assume atleast some familiarity with the concepts described here. At the very least you do need to be open minded enough to challenge your perception of reality and entertain new ideas, a closed mind is a decaying mind.
To investigate anything is to admit prejudice, if I seek to prove the reality of my beliefs to other people then I betray my own doubts. To have an opinion on something requires me to overlook an infinite number of possibilities and to separate myself into the marginal and relative realm of rational thought.
To arrive at the truth once in your life you have to rid yourself of all the opinions that you have received and reconstruct anew from the foundation, all the systems of your knowledge. — René Descartes
As a final disclaimer, this material is in no way intended to be comprehensive and/or complete as it is very much a creative work and should be considered preliminary to your own further investigation. Information is neutral, it is neither good nor bad, do what you want with it.
Information and Simulated Reality
Digital physics sees everything as information, it provides a different way of describing what is happening at the quantum level. Seeing as the universe appears to be composed of elementary particles whose behaviour can be completely described by the quantum switches they undergo that implies that the universe as a whole can be described by bits. Every state is information and every change of state is a change in information. From this it can be said that the history of the universe is in effect a huge and ongoing quantum computation.
The Shape of Information
Information is like a "meta-substance" if you like (meta meaning beyond or above), yet it is embedded in the metaphor we choose to describe it by. Consider that the subatomic particles and quantum processes which scientists describe are what shamanistic and ancient cultures would consider spirits and deities.
Thoughts and Illusions
Think of the human brain like a radio transmitter/receiver, the brain is tuned in to a small spectrum of reality. It then further filters this in order to make our reality seem more congruent. My own experiences with psychedelics lead me to consider that there are different frequencies which the brain can tune in to and in doing so it is possible to pick up other "alien" realities, after all, all dimensions are occupying the same space. It is impossible for us to know an "objective reality", we are in a very real sense encased within a bubble, a cocoon, our nervous system is a buffer into the void of ultimate mystery, even science has it's limits in what it can explain phenomenologically.
Language and Reality
Saying that everything is information isn't very helpful for people who like to believe that there is a physical reality out there, it means essentially that the World is an abstraction, malleable by our interpretation and merely a collection of prevailing beliefs. Information as a linguistic object is a rather undiscerning metaphor. Metaphor is for most people a device of the poetic imagination, yet it is much more pervasive in everyday life than most people assume. Our ordinary conceptual system in terms of which we both think and act is fundamentally metaphorical in nature.
Robert Anton Wilson once remarked that "we are trapped in linguistic constructs, the only reality we know is the one we manufacture". We are immersed within a culture of symbols, as Gothe said "everything is a symbol", this woeful abstraction and sheathing of the reality destroys the outer World and fills the inner World with emptiness. The more involved this internal representational system is, the more distanced we are from the reality around us. Other connections and cognitive perspectives are inhibited and substituted by the alienation of symbolic representation.
Meme Morphing Machines
A meme is a cognitive or behavioural pattern that can be transmitted from one individual to another one, because of this they are often called "mind viruses". For example looking both ways before you cross the road is a meme. In general memes do not work on your rational mind but rather they affect your unconscious, emotionally entangled, decision-making processes. Another way of thinking about memes is as ideas or neoligisms that distribute themselves through a population. In a very real sense we are a collection of other peoples' minds. Memes become the entrenched thoughts and behavioural characteristics of our personalities. Since ideas get fixed in our minds they become our reality, often for our entire lives.
In the lack of scripted narrative - the fiction resembles reality - personal and collective. Using the form of an altered Census [not Demographic but Emographic] - reporting to none, the goal is to set out to seek faces, emotions, events, eyes, myths and stories, energies opposed to numbers, colors, institutionalized Gods and capitalist rituals.
4 Emographers set out for a 10 day round trip around Macedonia equipped with video and photo machines, ninja accessories, notebooks and pencils to find out what they will discover. The result is a feature film split in 5 parts – each a round trip on its own dwelling in a given theme. In the lack of scripted narrative – the fiction resembles reality – personal and collective. Using the form of an altered Census [not Demographic but Emographic] – reporting to none, the goal is to set out to seek faces, emotions, events, eyes, myths and stories, energies opposed to numbers, colors, institutionalized Gods and capitalist rituals. Set between two cycles of the presidential elections of 2009 – combining interrogation and torture of the open lens we go and see how the people live. In a country where the contrast of social landscapes, mutation of principles, coloring of minds of the masses, modification of recent history is an old news waiting to be herd and talked about, we travel and seek the imperfection of the moments with which we build a topographic essay on Macedonia. Dissecting the genealogy of power to reveal the deep wounds and substitute them with an open constructive dialogue and effective action.
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SpaceCollective is a joint initiative of filmmaker Rene Daalder and designer Folkert Gorter. Daalder is the project's main author and creator of The Future of Everything. Gorter is the site's interaction designer and the curator of the Gallery. System architecture and technology created by Josh Pangell. The Future of Everything episodes are edited by Aaron Ohlmann and produced by American Scenes Inc; executive producer: Joseph Kaufman.